Cubitt is proud to present the first UK solo-exhibition by British artist Tris Vonna-Michell (1982, Rochford). Tall Tales and Short Stories presents a selection of the artist's energetic narratives, performances and installations which have gathered great international recognition.
In his work, Tris Vonna-Michell takes up the age-old tradition of storytelling. His use of a dense flow of words - somewhere between 'concrete poetry' and the rap-like quality of poetry slam - adds a captivating sense of speed to his narrative. Each narrative draws on a vast variety of sources, plots and references.
Vonna-Michell's storytelling reveals an intrepid curiosity about transmission of history and the representation of its lost 'objecthood'. With this in mind, every form of representation is subjected to playful distrust. Existing monuments, texts, historical figures - even the artist's own everyday objects and anecdotes - are placed under direct suspicion and are charged by Vonna-Michell with conspiracy theories, secret agencies and multiple identities.
In the exhibition at Cubitt for example, the destroyed files of the GDR's secret service, the Stasi, are retraced in the installation titled Leipzig Calendar Works (2005-2007). In hahn/huhn (2004-2007) Vonna-Michell speculates on possible secret tunnels in Cold War Berlin; and in Down the Rabbit-Hole (2006-2007) he tackles his own amnesia in his search for the obscure French sound poet Henri Chopin (Paris, 1922).
The selection of artefacts, light projections and sound recordings which construct these installations bear witness to the embodiment of Vonna-Michell as a self-proclaimed detective. However, in relation to his narratives, the installations seem to contradict their apparently illustrative features and instead generate a variety of new questions. In this way Vonna-Michell shifts the focus of his suspicion to consider the significance and representation of his own oeuvre and the aesthetic regime behind a work of art in general.